The New Department of Labor Secretary: Here’s Why You Should Care

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Thomas Perez is the new Secretary of the Department of Labor replacing Hilda Solis.  Employers hoping Perez would be less aggressive than the previous administration should prepare for more of the same.  The Department of Labor’s agenda makes priorities of worker’s rights, workplace fraud, enforcement of wage and hour laws, and raising the minimum wage.

During an address to the AFL-CIO Perez stated the Department would be cracking down on worker misclassification, stating it was not innocent misclassification but workplace fraud.  Many employers run afoul of these rules and misclassify workers as independent contractors when in fact they are employees.  In addition to violating employment laws, misclassification can cause some employers hovering around 50 employees to think they are small employers, and not subject to some requirements within the Affordable Care Act, when in fact they are large employers and over 50 employees due to those misclassified workers.

Experts also predict more scrutiny and enforcement in government reporting and 5500 filings, an area commonly overlooked by employers (see whitepaper on this topic in our whitepapers section).